What is this?

#1 Jul 12th, 2013, 11:23
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  • davidx2 is offline
#1
I've posted a couple of inquiries about things my partner brings home on his daily foray to thrift shops (shops that are usually operated by charities and receive donations of unwanted items from people and then resell them) and they have generated some interesting discussions. See here and here.

This one he actually dragged home about 10 years ago. He thinks that it is of Indian origin because he saw something similar in an Indian antiquities book that was used for dipping holy water.

It seems to be made of copper or bronze. It's 12.5" (32 cm) long x 5.25" (13 cm) wide x 4" (10 cm) tall. It's heavy, weighing around a pound. It is well used. The botton has been repaired, but now has small separations in it so that water would leak out.

So, if anyone can let us know:

1) Is this actually Indian?
2) If so, what is it called?
3) What is its use?
4) Are they still being made and used?
5) How old might it be?

Thanks in advance for any information provided.
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#2 Jul 12th, 2013, 11:39
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  • Thelespauls is offline
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it looks to me like some sort of shiva lingam. generally a phallic symbol of the male power, this piece seems to lack the normal dome shape that is usually prominent in the broad end. It seems to me that maybe some other sort of lingu was meant to be placed apon it to complete the structure. nice find IMO. I am personally a lingiath by birth and have great reverence for such objects. i wish I could tell you the age, if you find out, please post back.
#3 Jul 12th, 2013, 11:42
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oh yeah, the use for a shiva lingam is generally as an "idol" of sorts, although much less formless than say a human shaped god/ess.... lingams in general as I have grown up anyways have always been a point of concentration for meditation. Meant to be "formless", there are many types of lingams in use. My personal sect rejects the need to go to temple in favor of carrying an Ishta Linga around our neck. It is shaped like the dome previously mentioned but about the size of a chestnut. The object is meant to be polished and the gleam from it is the focus of thought and spirit.
#4 Jul 12th, 2013, 11:52
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
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David

This appears to be a tantric yoni vessel called a Nali Patri. It's used for worshipping the Siva Lingam (the phallic symbol of lord Siva) by pouring water over the lingam.

Here're identical pieces : http://www.michaelbackmanltd.com/478.html and http://www.sriarts.com/item_detail.a...2&CategoryID=3.

The lingam is not placed atop the broad end. The object where the lingam is placed is called the Yoni-patta. That object is flat.

I have not seen anything like this ever. I don't think they're made any more. The contemporary practice is to hang a small copper or brass vessel on top of the lingam from where water drips constantly and washes the lingam.

Quite a find!

- VA
#5 Jul 12th, 2013, 12:34
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WOW!! Thanks for the responses. We will now give the Yani Patri much more respect than we've been giving it. I have, of course, inquired on the prices of the items in your link (the first identical to ours and the second a slightly different shape), Vaibhav. It would be nice if it could pay for our upcoming trip to India.

We particularly appreciate the fact that it has been well used and treated with respect since the bottom has been repaired.

Vaibhav! You seem to have great knowledge on all things Indian! My partner is pulling out some other Indian stuff that he's found, so expect some more 'What is this?' posts somewhere on the horizon.
#6 Jul 13th, 2013, 05:28
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Thanks for the correction! It does seem like a more "feminine" shape now that I think about it.
#7 Jul 13th, 2013, 05:31
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  • davidx2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thelespauls View Post Thanks for the correction! It does seem like a more "feminine" shape now that I think about it.
When my partner first saw it, he at first thought it might be some old-fashioned type of urinal (like used for hospital patients who can't access the bathroom) and wasn't sure he wanted to touch it.


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